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Interesting Lectures and Seminars

This is Western History! (Introduction to Western History)

Mr.Shun Kumagai
3rd year Student at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences

I believe that enthusiasm of students is the difference between western history that is studied in university and world history that is studied until high school. History studied until high school is a passive subject taken as a compulsory course, and tends to be considered as a subject to be memorized for university entrance examinations. However, at university, students must establish their own research themes and use historical materials to actively investigate history. This kind of study requires enthusiasm, not memorization.

The course "Introduction to Western History" follows an omnibus-type format in which different Professors of western history teach in turn throughout one year. Each Professor discusses his or her own period or region of expertise. For example, history is approached through a variety of angles such as the dating of ancient Mesopotamia, the clothing, food, shelter and Christianity of medieval Europe, and the social changes that occurred in England due to the start of newspaper publishing. This teaching approach is stimulating. Very few 2nd year students have already decided the theme of their graduate thesis, and many students use this course as an aid for setting their theme. Among students taking this course, some receive too much stimulation and change the theme which they had already set, making it difficult for them to decide. Also, although this is a history course, it does not dwell exclusively on the past. Professor Ouchi teaches a class that references the current form of the country of Germany within a discussion of modern German history. To quote Professor Ouchi, "Germany has been a divided country since long ago, and the power of rural areas remained strong even after the establishment of the German Empire. Germany became a country with centralized government an exceptionally short period of time ago. Historically speaking, Germany's current form as a federated republic composed of more than 10 Lands (states) can be called a normal form."

Different Professors of western history give lectures in turn throughout one year, creating a course that is among the top in Japan in terms of both quality and quantity. Such a course can only be realized at a university like Waseda. Course registration is possible for every half of the term. The first term covers from ancient to medieval times and the second term covers modern history, so it is possible to enroll in the section in which you possess an interest. I hope that both students who are already enthusiastic and students who are still searching for their enthusiasm will experience the excitement of western history through this course.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)